Colombian fried rice

Calentado from Club Colombia by the famous Harry Sasson

You may have already noticed from my previous food posts that Colombian cuisine is really starchy. Well, since a third of the country is covered by mountains, and with majority of the population living in the Andean range because of the economic inertia to live close to the capital which is in the middle of the mountain range at 2,600 above sea level, you’ve really got to pile up the carbs to roam around with energy!

Calentado is one of the staples in the country. Once the key item on the Sunday breakfast table, it is now widely consumed any time of the week as a popular lunch time option. It was invented when families took whatever was in the fridge that had been left over from the previous days. They would fry all the ingredients together, typically including trimmings of the left over steak, beans, and rice.

The comfort food is ‘almost’ as delicious as Chinese fried rice! But it doesn’t come with such wide variety as the Chinese version. The Chinese pretty much put anything with the rice, generating endless types of species of fried rice. The principle behind fried rice and calentado are the same though – to make an easy, nutritious dish without wasting a thing.

The ingredients of a calentado are almost always the same, with a slight variant in the choice of beans (black or red), or the type of meat (pork, sausage or beef). It appears that one can’t get too imaginative with this dish or in general with Colombian cuisine to a certain extent. However, prices really vary. This one we had from Andres Carne de Res cost COP20,000 or US$10, whilst the ones from a casual eatery can be as cheap as $4,000, or US$2.

Calentado with red beans from Andres Carne de Res


  1. Anonymous · · Reply

    Yummy calentado… so amazing!!! You will find it everywhere… In Bogota, Medellin, Cali or Barranquilla. It is one of our Colombian delicacies and it is the best for breakfast!!!

  2. […] in Colombia means only a few things, calentado, tamales, or […]

  3. […] (ie yuca, bono, almojababa), arepas in 3 styles, 3 types of empanadas, various tamales, 2 types of calentado, omelettes from the egg station, steaks, chorizo and longaniza (a more elegant looking chorizo). […]

  4. […] tossed on the barbie, steamed or deep-fried (patacons).. You will find banana in your fried rice (calentado), banana with your meat, banana as crisps (delicious!) on supermarket shelves. It is eaten skin-on, […]

  5. looks like paella relative…

    1. not nearly! they stir the rice here whilst for paella you don’t! Also there are no beans in paella!

  6. […] kind of breakfast are we talking about? Is it the traditional arteries bursting beef rib soup and fried rice? American pancakes? Continental? […]

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